Felicia Persaud (26512)
Felicia Persaud

DACA––or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program of 2012––was sent into a tailspin again on Friday, July 17, 2021, when Republican-appointed Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruled the program was “illegal” and put a halt on all new applications.

Hanen, who was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2002 to be a district judge and was confirmed in May of 2002 by a 97-0 Senatorial vote, serves in the Brownsville division of the Southern District of Texas. He ruled that the Barack Obama administration failed to follow federal administrative rules in launching DACA and that the Department of Homeland Security cannot grant any new applications from people who have never been in the program.

But the good news is that Hanen put the most of his ruling on hold while the case is appealed by the Joe Biden administration’s DOJ. President Joe Biden has said the U.S. will appeal the federal judge’s ruling. And on Saturday, he again renewed his call for the U.S. Congress to agree on a permanent solution.

The House approved legislation in March, creating a pathway toward citizenship for all DREAMERs impacted, but the measure has stalled in the Senate.

To that end, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema are to be blamed. They hold the key to moving the DREAM act forward to passage, and to finally becoming law once and for all.

The Democratic holdouts over efforts to pass immigration and federal voting rights legislation is jeopardizing the entire future of the Democratic Party and control of power currently.

It is immigrant and Black voters who came out in great numbers to hand Biden and Kamala Harris a victory in 2019, while helping Democrats to wrest back control of the Senate.

Now is the time for Democrats to deliver for immigrant voters, beginning with DACA, or they will face a major blow-back in 2022.

Manchin instead headed to Texas for a fundraiser on the same day the Texas judge ruled against DACA. The host committee of the fundraiser included several wealthy Republican donors, including titans of the Texas oil and gas industry, many of whom donate almost exclusively to Republicans.

The fundraiser came just a day after Manchin met with Texas House Democrats on Capitol Hill who are desperate for his support of congressional efforts which could preempt the statewide GOP’s push to pass bills that would restrict voting access for many Texans, chief among them immigrant and Black voters. His attendance is a slap in the face to all people of color, who in 2021 find themselves fighting what is simply a racist attempt to wrest back control by the white dominated Grand Ole Party.

Manchin and Sinema must decide if they are Democrats or Republicans. They cannot be both. Republicans have no problem holding the line and sticking together. Manchin and Sinema obviously have no such loyalty. They are fast heading to claiming the award of most hated Democrats in America, but sadly, their selfish actions will impact the Democratic Party and the Biden administration’s agenda and commitment to immigrant voters.

Immigrant voters, disgusted with being scapegoated again, will once more turn their backs on them come 2022 and beyond. Time is running out for DACA to become law and for comprehensive immigration reform that also curbs the border crisis. And time is also slip, sliding away for Democrats to deliver for the immigrant and Black voters who handed them power in 2019.

The future of DREAMERS is completely now in the hands of Manchin and Sinema. It’s time to put up or shut up.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow